Before we went to my in-laws’ house for family festivities and dinner and all that fun human stuff, we let the boys open their presents (a squeaky “Ruffians” octopus for Jethro and a Kong “Beast” toy for Truman, though I suspect they’ll share like good dogs).
But we also did something I’ve been wanting to do for two months now: take the boys for a walk around the big park behind our house. Jethro’s first real walk! The whole circuit is almost a mile, not counting the getting there and getting back, and the park is usually full of walkers, joggers, dogs, children, sports, picnics, birthday parties, squirrels, birds, miniature trains, and feral cats (something for everyone!).
There were two fantastic things about this walk in the brisk, invigorating post-storm air. One, since Wolf is home, all four of us were able to enjoy it together. It’s going to mean double the good exercise, but also double the time, for me to walk the boys after he leaves again.
And two, a nice long walk full of new and exciting experiences makes for a very sleepy puppy.
We took Jethro with us to the Christmas Eve service at our church, and we had to get there really early so Wolf could rehearse with the other musicians (he got to play his clarinet on several of the carols, which sounded terrific with the violin and the mandolin and the guitar and the bass and the piano and the vocalists…super cool).
While Jethro was pretty well-behaved for that time of the evening — he prefers shuffling to sitting still during the dinner hours — he did give me a look or two during rehearsal that indicated he was bored and would rather be elsewhere. People tell me that puppy raising is much like raising kids, and it’s times like this I suspect they’re right.
It is a banner day here. Not only is our beloved pack leader home for Christmas, but Jethro just got his 20-week vaccine…otherwise known in my house as “The Freedom Shot!” Now he’s fully portable and ready to rock and roll.
This weather! We have had continuous rain here in Southern California for days. DAYS. And when I say “continuous,” I mean it hasn’t let up for more than an hour or so, one time, for DAYS. The natives are getting restless.
Mostly, they’re just bored.
But I’m always a little apprehensive when I see the face that asks the question, “What fresh new kind of trouble can I get myself into around here?”
The pack leader will be home again in just three days. Meanwhile, there is much cleaning to be done. Much shopping to be done. Much trying-to-avoid-soaking-the-dogs-while-they’re-piddling to be done. I’m wiped out just thinking about it.
For various reasons — including needing to pack up a house full of stuff mostly by myself, and also not wanting to have two months’ worth of California income tax to deal with next year after we move to Pennsylvania — I resigned from my job in December. Today was my last day.
It’s hard to believe I’m heading out and leaving my co-workers behind after five and a half years! But it’s a good thing. We’re off to new adventures.
There have been many dogs under this desk….
The holiday food parade continues! Our South Bay puppy raiser group also holds an annual potluck in December (also a good one). We have lots of other festive traditions too, including a puppy gift exchange; donation opportunities for a local animal shelter; and a tear-inducing video full of photos of the previous year’s puppies-in-training, breeders, and working guides (that one’s rough, let me tell you — it’s been almost four years, but the sight of Lomax in harness at his graduation gets me EVERY FREAKING TIME).
Our group is huge, and our area leaders work really hard to put on a nice event — even going so far as to set up decorative photo backgrounds for puppy-posing pleasure. Jethro was happy to jump into the little red wagon, but wanted out just as quickly, so we had to be pretty speedy with the camera:
Let’s hear it for the world’s most tolerant Santa.
GDA does a lot of nice things for their puppy raisers, and the annual GDA Holiday Party is one of my favorite events. Puppy raiser potlucks are always good (people actually cook, for one thing…unlike a lot of other potlucks I’ve been to in Southern California, which are comprised of tables full of buckets of chicken, bags of chips and eight thousand plastic forks), the atmosphere is festive, and you have the opportunity to see raisers from other groups that you might not see much at other points during the year.
Every year, we’re asked to bring an ornament with our puppy’s name on it to hang on the tree, so I took a trip to the craft store (somehow managing to get out of there for less than fifty bucks — it’s a Christmas miracle!) and made one for Jethro.
Stay tuned for pictures with Santa!